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craigaosborne 120 ( +1 | -1 )
chess ability v age this could be a huge thread so plese give your views.

i have found the player spymaster and he is 99!!!

not only is he probably one of the oldest players who comes on gameknot, he has a rather respectable rating as well. so on to the question and opinions. i am a believer that when you age you tend to know a little bit less and your memory can start to become a little bit cloudy, however spymaster could be a fine example that playing chess and keeping your mind active can stop these such things. or perhaps such things have happened and spymater used to be an extremely good player but is not as good now. in either case i pose these questions to you: 1 does chess have a positive affect on you in the long run in terms of memory? should your age really make a difference to how good you are?

i would like to know what everyone thinks about this and please feel free to raise any other points to talk about.
tulkos 0 ( +1 | -1 )
Is spymaster really 99?
shoshin 96 ( +1 | -1 )
craigosborne "i am a believer that when you age you tend to know a little bit less and your memory can start to become a little bit cloudy"

I feel you need to verify this statement.

It is proven generation after generation by acts that the older you get the MORE you know and the younger a person is the LESS they know.

I am 47, I play chess, I, without a doubt, know much more now than I did at 19!!! I assure you there are no clouds in my memory.

My mother is 95...her mind is as sharp as a razor! BTW, she doesn't play chess.

My uncle is 92...his mind is also sharp as a razor! He does play chess.

I do not think chess can HURT your memory but I believe it is almost impossible to say with any certainty that chess improves your memory.

"Clouded memory" has less to do with aging and more to do with certain health problems associated with aging.

However, I do believe chess is a good tool to help teenagers learn how to think.
craigaosborne 91 ( +1 | -1 )
sad but true. as you grow your body is constantly making and replacing cells in and around your body but after a long time this system of 'regeneration' becomes less efficient in doing an exact job of things. this is true for all parts of your body and it is part to do with things like how wrinkles appear. the rate in which things like this happen in people vary but one thing is for sure- it is inevitable it will happen to all of us that live long enough to see it happen, a sad fact of life but true. back to the point- with this in mind (no pun intended) i believe that your brain cells can slightly deteriate, especially in older people, but as i said it varies and even if you are 'old' you can still be good at chess because perhaps the parts of your brain that are used for playing chess are perfectly fine whilst other parts ARE 'cloudy'
shoshin 43 ( +1 | -1 )
Do you believe everyone suffers loss of mental function as they grow older?

It has been my experience that for every person that suffers mental function loss as they age, there are many more who do not.

What I would really like for you to verify is the first part of your statement that I quoted in my first post..."i am a believer that when you age you tend to know a little bit less"...

craigaosborne 89 ( +1 | -1 )
"i am a believer that when you age you tend to kn "i am a believer that when you age you tend to know a little bit less and your memory can start to become a little bit cloudy"

can you tell me of any GM that is over the age of 70 and still active in the tournament scene?

i have no solid evidence to 'verify' my statement, i merely stated my beliefs and what, in my opinion, seems to be the general case with most people that are elderly chess players. i did not say that ALL elderly people have lose thier memory and become a bit cloudy. i was generalising, maybe the ratio to people for people who get clouded memory and for those who do not is very small. but can you honestly tell me that you can remember thngs that you did when you were very young?, can you remember test results you got at school?, can you remember the first time you played chess and won? ask these to a 90 year old and, in my opinion, more often than not they will say "I dont quite remember"
aqeel 31 ( +1 | -1 )
i believe memory has nothing to do in chess rather its a game which is more greatly affected by ur experience.I agree with shoshin that the more u get old the more u learn.*memory counts but not that much.If you look at the GMs, for instance symslov V, he is said to be unbeatable when he reached 70 and it was the time he really was on the top.
shoshin 93 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes I can remember many things from when I was much younger. My earliest memory is from 1958...I remember walking with my brother from our house to our grandmother's house for Easter dinner...I carried the dinner rolls...and my brother walked too fast.

I do remember the first chess game I won..it was against my brother on Christmas Eve 1964...of course he let me win...My first move was e4 :)

I have many memories from my school years including test results...I distinctly remember the "IQ" test given to all first grade students....I remember thinking the questions were stupid and yes I do remember my score although I believe it was 2-3 years later that I actually learned the result.

My grandmother, just before her death at 98 years old, suffered dementia caused by cardiovascular problems...her short term memory was indeed clouded...but her many, many memories of her early childhood was nothing short of amazing! She did not play chess.



peppe_l 141 ( +1 | -1 )
Graigosborne "can you tell me of any GM that is over the age of 70 and still active in the tournament scene?"

Viktor Korchnoi?

I believe you are missing the point here - the main reason for "older" players losing playing strength is not memory loss or lack of knowledge. The reasons are physical stress caused by long tournament games and physical problems making it difficult to concentrate properly etc. Speaking of mental factors, for older folks it is often more difficult to concentrate 100% of the game lasts too long, and yes it is easier for younger people to absorb NEW information, for example state-of-the-art opening theory. But if we look at overall chess knowledge, there is no question Viktor Korchnoi knows a lot more about chess than many younger players who are above him on ELO list. But when he has to play young opponents who have seemingly endless amounts of energy for long games, it is a major disadvantage. Still disagree? Too bad, because champions like Capablanca and even Kasparov have pointed this out, saying when they were 25 they had more energy, but later on the lack of energy was compensated by experience and chess knowledge. You simply cant learn as much in few years as older people have learned during decades. I am not saying the "older" person automatically has more knowledge or wisdom, but generally that is more likely than the other possibility you are suggesting here.

brainattack 27 ( +1 | -1 )
no... old people are certainly slow to learn, but rely on broader experience to cover this up. this is a physiological consequence of aging - just look at the capacity of a young child to learn fast.
craig also seems a bit slow if he actually thinks spymaster is 99.
baseline 69 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with Peppe_I I am 52 and diabetic, and I can no longer handle the stress of OTB tournaments. Stress will cause your body to produce adreline and increase your blood sugar levels. In healthy people this allows them to think and act more quickly but for me Since I metoblize sugar slowly this process throws me into a state of mental confussion .

As you grow older you also have the natural tendency to think through problems more slowly and to check your work more frequently to avoid all those mistakes you use to make when you were younger. :o)

The type of chess we play here at GK is ideal for people like me who need to go at a leasurely pace.
knightrider7 4 ( +1 | -1 )

i just turned 50 and mind my fuzzy not is.
drgandalf 104 ( +1 | -1 )
Stress is indeed a factor in OTB tournament chess. One way to relieve that stress is through isometrics. I put my hands together during a tournament game and I press them with considerable might. That utilizes the adrenalin, the "fight or flight" hormone. Taking a series of deep breaths tends to reduce stress. I avoid oncoming headaches this way.

Most importantly, stress in an OTB tournament is almost always internally based. There is seldom anything or anyone threatening a player. All his stress is based upon his own perceptions.

One damaging perception that causes stress is the assumption that the particular game or tournament is important enough to get stressed about. By playing the board, rather than the opponent, by playing to find the best strategy, tactic or move, rather than worrying about the game outcome, will avoid stress.

A diabetic or one with heart problems needs to discipline himself to avoid stress and to take immediate measures against any stress incurred in the tournament.